Where to go from Rock Bottom?

Photo by Alex Siale on Unsplash

“Until you run out of excuses, you’re life will not change”.

This is a quote from early on in Tanya Markel and Andrea Balt’s Wellness Alchemist Detox, that I participated in several years ago and continue to revisit annually.

In it, the authors lead us on a journey through Awareness, Sensitivity, and Honesty. It works well with the Honesty, Openness, and Willingness (HOW) of the 12 step recovery program.

When I was just a week away from my last drink, I stumbled upon a Buddhist Meditation group on The Gold Coast where I live.

I went, I enjoyed, and I began practicing daily meditation. Along with learning the practice of daily meditation I began hearing the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni.

For a spiritually starved unit, whose main refuge practice had been drinking from sunrise to fall-down, I was like table salt on spilled merlot!

I was fascinated to find out that the suffering that I had, was shared in varying degrees by everyone. I was intrigued that Buddha had spoken about our common plight 2500 years ago, and delighted to know that I had access to this knowledge as if it were a new App on Google Play.

The sufferings of  this Precious Human Life are:

  1. Birth
  2. Ageing
  3. Sickness
  4. Death
  5. Having to part with what we like
  6. Having to encoounter what we don’t like
  7. Failing to satisfy our desires

So there I was, at the bottom of the world looking up as if drunk in the gutter, having to admit I was powerless, and the Buddhist Nun said my problems are just like everyone else’s!

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

I have said many times that I only had two problems…
Alcoholism, and
Everything else.

Having given up the grog a few days earlier I was up to tackling ‘Everything else’.

My spiritual conversion from scared little Catholic boy to fully realised ex-drinker Buddhist was swift and easy.

In the mental haze brought about by Valium and withdrawal, and the epiphanic euphoria of discovering that my answers were written for me thousands of years before, I dove deeply into recovery and enlightenment.

Within weeks I was free of coffee, salt, fat, sugar and meat as well. What could possibly go wrong, methunk?

I know what you’re all thinking. I crashed and burned heavily!

NO. I didn’t — but I could have.

The coffee, salt, sugar and meat came back to me intermittently and I went to a meeting a day and meditation class weekly. I began to put into my life a form of devotion that was completely different to praying to a mysterious god whom I never understood.

There was a certain calm in the maelstrom for me and despite many trials and temptations, I haven’t drunk since that day.

What I would like to express here is that I feel that the search for a spiritual understanding of a power greater than myself became clearer that day that I realised I was powerless over alcohol.

I wasn’t on my way to Damascus, but I was on my way to the grave. There was no fight left in me, and my 42-year-old liver had also had enough. My doctor never thought I would recover from cirrhosis but I have had clear Liver Function Tests for eight years now.

Both my body and mind have cleared up.

However, there is not a day goes by without me realising that I cannot drink today. Whilst my ‘Prayer and Meditation’ needs a lot of work, I am helped every moment of every day to be a better human being through the guidance of the Buddhas and the implementation of the practical precepts.

love alwaz

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